Every day I hear from caregivers who are struggling as they care for their parents. They struggle with their new responsibilities and the time-consuming tasks. With the changes in their life and with all the unanswered questions. They fear “the unknown”. They fear their “new normal”. And what you hear most is that they feel guilty.
You love your parents, you care for your parents and NOW WHAT?
First: it is crucial that you ACCEPT that your parents are getting older, and that aging comes with physical, mental, emotional and spiritual challenges.
Second: it will make a difference in your life when you actually ACKNOWLEDGE that you have become the caregiver… if you decide to take on that role.When you visit your parents, things are not the same as they used and you get more involved in their daily life activities. The joyful family visits will over time turn into more challenging visits, create stress and you are prone to falling in the ‘guilt trap”.
That’s becoming reality.
As a caregiver for your parents it is important that you learn how to take care of yourself. Yes, a night out with your friends may be fun, but honestly, how many times do you look at your phone to check your messages? Because you never know “if something is wrong”. We humans are really good in assumptions and ‘voices and stories” that keep our minds occupied.
However, your focus should be on knocking out your ego and really own your value and your worth, to care for yourself the best way possible while caring for your parents. So that you are not forced to quit your career, give up your independence, see relationships go down-hill or get sick.
Communication is key!
Understanding yourself, understanding your parents will help you maintain balance your life, health, career and your relationships.
So what can you do to make your visits worthwhile and fun?
Over the next little while I am sharing 7 strategies to be a happy caregiver. Practical strategies that have proven to work! It requires awareness, change of mindset and habits and above all: practise and courage. And as you apply these strategies over and over, you will notice the changes in your relationships, improved confidence and more clarity when it comes to decision-making.
Here’s is a great start for the next visit to your parents:
#1. Enter the house with a smile:
This is about awareness and being mindful. Take a couple of deep breaths before you go in for your visit, slow down and focus on a pleasant conversation, a cup of tea together and the tasks at hand.
Leave behind what happened earlier in the day. No matter what, feel good about yourself and smile. Don’t rush. Don’t talk fast. When you do this at every visit you will feel much better!
Till next time!
Certified Caregiving Consultant & Educator